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Service Learning

Education in Action

Students involved in service learning spend a set number of hours working in community organizations as part of their coursework. Service learning is more than traditional "volunteering" because it combines service activities with structured reflection that enhances learning. The program's philosophy emphasizes active learning that supports the goals of engaged citizenship, reflective learning, and social responsibility. Many faculty offer a service learning option in their course, allowing students to contribute their skills, talents and time to address a wide range of human and societal needs while earning course credit. For more information and available opportunities, call the Service Learning Office (Ext. 2176).For more information contact Mary Parkman, Service-Learning Coordinator today or visit our blog:


"Tell me and I will forget. Show me and I may remember. Involve me and I will understand."

~ Chinese Proverb

What is it?

Service-learning is an opportunity for students to provide an important service to the community and, at the same time, learn about community needs and issues. Students will also develop and practice new skills in a real world setting, and reflect on their personal and career interests. Service-learning intentionally combines service with learning, a combination that is transforming both communities and students.

  • Service-learning is an optional semester long project offered in select courses at BCC.
  • Service-Learning projects may substitute for a paper, project, exam or count as extra credit. This depends on the course.
  • Requires a commitment of 15 hours of service to a non-profit agency.
  • Receive $8.60 per service hour for a 15 hour commitment through the "Community Service-Work Study Program" with approval from course instructor, Work Study and Service-Learning Coordinators.

By signing up for courses that offer a service component, you will cover the normal course content but also have the opportunity to work in a community-based organization or nonprofit agency and apply what you learn in class. At the same time you will be helping to make the world a better place. Students have worked with environmental organizations, government agencies, hospitals, community coalitions, animal shelters, and schools. BCC's Got Math? is also a component of the college's Service-Learning Program.

Past Projects:

  • Students in Business Communications created PowerPoint presentations for local non-profits.
  • Engineering and Computer Science students taught elementary school students basic engineering skills to build and control robots.
  • Sociology and Spanish Language students helped organize a multi-cultural community event for over 400 people.
  • Math students tutored elementary school students throughout Berkshire County in math during the school day and in after school programs.
  • Psychology students assisted individuals in gaining life skills in outreach programs at the Brien Center.
  • Environmental Science students performed trail maintenance the BCC's John Lambert Nature Trail for the college and community to enjoy.
  • Criminal Justice students volunteered to mentor teens at at-risk youth programs.
  • Spanish students created and taught a Spanish After-School program to 4th and 5th graders which culminated with a performance at the schools' end of the year showcase event.

Benefits to Students:

  • A successful service-learning experience can lead to an excellent reference, internship or even a job.
  • Experience hands on learning outside of the classroom.
  • Apply what you learn in class in a real world setting.
  • Solve real problems in your community.
  • Work with people from diverse backgrounds.
  • Explore career possibilities.
  • Have fun, discover your strengths and gain new skills.
  • Earn recognition, awards or scholarships to further your education.
  • Become a BCC Service-Learning Student Leader.

Service Learning... it's about connecting: to your campus, to your community, to your future. 


Mary Parkman
Service Learning Coordinator
Office location: Melville 210
Direct phone:  (413) 236-2176
fax: (413) 447-7840         

Office Hours: Monday - Friday (9 AM - 5 PM)